Communication. It’s one of the most basic skills in humanity, yet it’s also one of the biggest reasons behind most of what’s wrong with the world.
New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur is smart enough to realize from experience that when coaching a pro football team, communication has to be a two-way street, that it can’t always be “do what I say, not as I do” and that communication needs to be simple and transparent enough to avoid potential misunderstandings.
He’s also smart enough to not make assumptions about what he thinks he knows, a tactic that is a natural breeding ground for miscommunication.
When Shurmur was formally introduced as the head coach of the Giants on January 26, one of the first things he spoke about was the importance of the relationship-building process.
“I really do believe it’s about the players,” Shurmur said. “We used to have a thing we said in Philadelphia, and then certainly when we went to Minnesota that, ‘It’s not the plays, it’s the players.’
“When it comes to coaching and playing, you work together, and I think what’s important is we establish at the beginning the way we’re going to do things, what we expect, and then keep talking about why it’s important so that they believe it, as well.”
Shurmur has so far proven to be a man of his word, something that his players have no doubt taken note of, and that philosophy should serve him well as he looks to gain commitment from players such as receiver Odell Beckham Jr., an exceptional talent who is expected to be one of the centerpieces of the new offense Shurmur, offensive coordinator Mike Shula and the rest of the coaches are designing, to meet his new coaching staff halfway.
Shurmur, who during his introductory press conference in January said he wanted to “get to know what makes (Beckham) tick,” has done just that.
He met with the receiver at the team’s facilities not long after he was hired and has continued to build the foundation of a relationship with his star receiver by visiting him out in California, where Beckham trains.
While Shurmur willingly confirmed his meetings with Beckham, the coach drew the line about getting into specifics about conversation details, a move aimed at not only ensuring his relationship with Beckahm stays on track, but which also shows the rest of the players in the locker room that he can be trusted to keep any dirty laundry in house.
Shurmur is also proving to be calm in the face of potential firestorms. For example, when asked if he was concerned about how Beckham might react to the swirl of trade rumors that made their way around the league meetings a couple weeks ago, Shurmur shrugged off the notion, instead refocusing the attention on the desire to “grow out” of last year’s 3-13 debacle as a team.
As Shurmur expects the Giants to get “a little bit better every day,” he is also hoping that the relationships with Beckham and the rest of the team and the coaches continuing to grow as well.
“This is the first day of work, this is the first opportunity for all of us to be here together,” he said. “I think we can all learn from one another. Quite frankly, I’m looking forward to the players challenging me to grow, so that we can grow.”
The Giants announced that center Brett Jones, a restricted free agent who had been tendered at a second-round level, signed his tender. Jones, who is projected to be the starting center this year, will earn $2.914 million this season.
The Giants also re-signed tight end Ryan O’Malley, who was added to the 53-man roster late last year